The fun part of watching a friend or family member prep for the arrival of baby is that you get to “ooh” and “ah” at all of the cute baby clothes. But when it comes to your loved one’s postpartum care, that’s when it’s your time to shine. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first (new parents, yay!) or their third, postpartum freezer meals are the kind of gift they’ll be thanking you for forever.
In between packing a hospital go-bag, and decorating a small spaces nursery, parents rarely have the time to also make postpartum freezer meals they can enjoy later. So, if you’re gifting a new mom these freezer meals you can always add in some extras like those extra plastic utensils from takeout meals (yes, we all have a drawer!), foil trays so the new mama doesn’t have to worry about giving back your Tupperware and a little note with reheating instructions. Oh, and when you’re dropping it off, feel free to throw in some ice cream! And, if you’re the kind of prepared mama making meals to freeze before baby’s arrival, don’t worry these recipes are a breeze.
10 postpartum freezer meals to make before baby’s sweet arrival
1. White chicken enchilada casserole
The great thing about an enchilada casserole is that you can put almost anything into it. First, grab all your favorite toppings like diced tomatoes or bell peppers, then combine them in a large bowl with sour cream, diced chicken breasts, your choice of creamy soup (think: cream of chicken or mushroom), diced onion and salt and pepper. Then cover the bottom of your baking dish with potato chips and spread your mixture on top. Add your go-to shredded cheese and voilà! Bake now and freeze for later.
There’s nothing as comforting as a hearty soup. This one-pot wonder can be filled with whatever packaged or fresh veggies you have on hand. Simply add veggies and vegetable broth to a pot and let simmer. Add seasoning to taste. Then, stir in packaged pasta of your choice and add some greens like kale and spinach. Freeze it in Tupperware or Ziplock bags.
3. Grilled meat
One of the easiest things to prep ahead of time is seasoned chicken. Dice up your chicken, keep it whole if you’re working with wings or thighs, then add different marinades and seasonings to create different flavors. Seal it up in marked Ziplock bags and freeze. Add it to rice or pasta, throw it in the air fryer, slow cooker or cook it with any packaged broth and store bought veggies for an instant meal.
When you need something to crunch before you take a nap while baby naps, fritters are a wonderful go-to. Decide on a base like grated potatoes or zucchini, add to a bowl with enough flour to coat. Add chopped green onions, garlic, seasonings, thyme and parsley. Beat an egg and pour it on top of your mixture. If you prefer cheese in your fritters, like feta, mix it in. Then coat everything in breadcrumbs—Panko adds a nice crunch! Toss it in some oil then freeze for later.
5. Sweet potato and cauliflower soup
Toss chopped cauliflower and sweet potato in oil then roast for about 30 minutes. Then add minced shallots to a pot with some oil, stirring until the shallots change color. Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, vegetable broth, some water and thyme. Bring it all to a boil then simmer for a few minutes. Blend it all up and add seasoning.
6. Slow cooker chicken tikka masala
Add all your ingredients: diced chicken breasts, heavy cream, canned tomato sauce, minced garlic, honey, curry powder, red pepper (to taste), onion powder and salt. Then let the slow cooker do all of the work! Transfer to a freezer bag and enjoy later.
7. Stir fry
It doesn’t get any easier than stir fry. Whether you’re using fresh veggies or a store bought package, you have two options. Cook them all the way through with your choice of meat and freeze. Or, you can blanch the veggies, freeze them, then, on the day you’re eating them, let them thaw, simmer on low heat and add a homemade or store bought sauce to the mix. Enjoy them on their own or with noodles or rice.
8. Baked ziti
Think lasagne but smaller noodles! Heat up the oven and while that’s going cook the pasta according to package instructions. Get your sauce going at the same time by heating oil in a saucepan then adding chopping onions, garlic, pepper flakes (to taste) and salt and pepper. Add marinara to the mixture, let simmer, then remove from heat. To make the ricotta filling simply stir ricotta, parmesan and salt in a bowl. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it then add it back to pot, stirring in about 3 cups of the sauce. Fold in the ricotta mixture. Then transfer half of the pasta to your baking dish. Sprinkle mozzarella on top, add remaining pasta, layer remaining sauce, more mozzarella, then pop it in the oven. Of course, you can always cook veggies or meat with the sauce!
9. Turkey chili
In a large pot, cook the turkey meat in oil. Add seasoning, chopped onions and garlic. Stir for a few minutes, breaking up the meat, then add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, seasonings of your choice and a bit of sugar and let simmer. Stir in kidney beans and let it all cook for a few more minutes. Once it’s cooled down, package and freeze!
10. Muffin tin meatloaf
The great thing about muffin-sized meat loaf is that you can freeze them in little baggies and enjoy as many as you want once they’ve thawed. Grease a muffin tin and set aside. In a saucepan with oil, sauté chopped carrots, chopped onions, chopped garlic and oregano. In a large bowl mix together ground beef, bread crumbs, ketchup, mustard, chopped parsley, 2 beaten eggs, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Combine this mixture with the sautéd mix. Then, drop spoonfuls into your muffin tin, top with shredded cheese and bake.